Research Article

Dosage Compensation Proteins Targeted to X Chromosomes by a Determinant of Hermaphrodite Fate

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Science  11 Jun 1999:
Vol. 284, Issue 5421, pp. 1800-1804
DOI: 10.1126/science.284.5421.1800

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In many organisms, master control genes coordinately regulate sex-specific aspects of development. SDC-2 was shown to induce hermaphrodite sexual differentiation and activate X chromosome dosage compensation in Caenorhabditis elegans. To control these distinct processes, SDC-2 acts as a strong gene-specific repressor and a weaker chromosome-wide repressor. To initiate hermaphrodite development, SDC-2 associates with the promoter of the male sex-determining gene her-1 to repress its transcription. To activate dosage compensation, SDC-2 triggers assembly of a specialized protein complex exclusively on hermaphrodite X chromosomes to reduce gene expression by half. SDC-2 can localize to X chromosomes without other components of the dosage compensation complex, suggesting that SDC-2 targets dosage compensation machinery to X chromosomes.

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